Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time management

clock by Seth Thomas,
available at thesundaytimesmarket's shop

Trying to build up an Etsy shop can be difficult when you work in a full-time job. After working all day, and then coming home to domestic life, it's sometimes quite an effort to make yourself get up off the couch after cooking dinner or doing the laundry, and go do some more work. It becomes even more tricky when you have other activities like a sport to fit in (I play hockey which takes up at least 4 hours during the week with training and games, plus I play indoor soccer on a Sunday afternoon).

Quite often we find ourselves with short blocks of time in which to get work done, and it's really easy to fall into the trap of saying to yourself 'oh, I've only got half an hour, it's hardly worth starting something now, so I won't do anything until I have a decent chunk of time to get stuck into it.'

Now, I'm a master of procrastination, and always seem to avoid things until the very last minute, and I'm very much the kind of person who finds it hard to get going on something - but, I was given a valuable piece of advice which has actually been working for me lately quite well (and that's no small achievement). The advice might seem pretty obvious, but it's actually all about a change in the way you think, and it's been such a huge help to me mentally.

Basically the advice is:

If you only have 5 minutes, do something for 5 minutes.

I know - ridiculously simple, huh? Basically what it means is if you don't have a big block of time to get stuck into your work, just do some small things that can be done in that time. For me it's things like making fabric-covered buttons, cutting lengths of elastic, cutting out pieces of interfacing etc, so that when I do have time to get stuck into something, all the small annoying things have been done already. I think the way it works is by breaking a seemingly large task down into small, easily achievable tasks, it's not that hard to get started if in your head you're saying to yourself 'oh, I'm just making some buttons for a few minutes - that's easy'.

This approach can also work when you do have a decent block of time, but are finding it hard to get started. You tell yourself you're just going to make a few buttons or cut a few bits of elastic, and hey, all of a sudden you're getting stuck into your work!

So, if you're finding it hard to get going, try picking out some small easy tasks and start on those and tell yourself it's just for 5 or 10 minutes and see how you go!